My most memorable childhood memory was my mum’s homemade foods, specifically, her homemade foods inside my lunch box. Yes, she was that great in preparing my to go lunch. While my friends constantly had instant noodles or boring chicken nuggets as their lunch, I triumphantly ate various lunch menus from day to day. There was a great pride to unpack my lunch box and find the today’s “surprise” inside it.
Please do not imagine fancy bento or intricate shape sandwiches as my lunches back then. No, my mum was not an expert in doing “crafty” things like that. She just put her best efforts in cooking me various, and of course delicious, menu everyday. I used to have 6 different meals a week (yes, I had to go to school on Saturday). That, my friend, was my mum’s ultimate way to win my heart and make me clean off my lunch box, every single day.
I know that some of you, maybe, are totally freaking out about preparing your kid’s lunch box for his first week of school. What should I prepare? Will he eat it during break time? What if he doesn’t like it? And so on.. Please, do relax. And if I could give you my friendly advice: Do not take a peek on Pinterest for lunch box ideas, unless you want to feel like the most uncreative and laziest mum alive! 😀
Right, so how did I do to prepare my kid’s lunch box? As you know that being a working mum left me with little time to cook everyday, so here are several tips from me to save your time from worrying much about your kid’s lunch box tomorrow 😀
1. My son is not a picky eater, but you know how kids are. One day he randomly loves something, but the next day he can totally hates it. Strange, I know. The only key to cope this is “variety”. Try to pack a different lunch, or snack, everyday. You don’t have to cook a very distinct menu everyday; just a slight of modification would be perfect.
For example, I know that my son recently loves to eat bread for his snacks. So, for one whole week I will prepare different kind of sandwiches for him. Or you can prepare one staple recipe that can be transformed into many possibilities. I’ve posted here before about my versatile meat sauce. This sauce itself can be used to cook many other meals, for instance: pouring over pasta/rice/baked potatoes, layering up lasagna, or using this sauce as filling to make meat pies.
You can also encourage your kids to help choose and prepare their own lunch. They might like to make a list of the foods they enjoy. Kids who help choose and prepare their own lunch are more likely to eat it! 😀
2. Ask yourself, how does my kid eat his lunch at school? Please make sure that their foods are manageable and easy to eat. Some kids, like my kid, don’t like getting sticky or dirty hands while eating. You also have to consider that there are limited times for kids to eat during the day, especially at school. They may prefer to play with friends instead of eating. To subdue this problem, you can cut the foods into one-bite portions, and don’t forget to prepare a proper cutlery along with the meals.
For example, sliced fruits or peeled oranges are easier to be eaten by small kids. Cute toothpicks can be used to prick the fruits. Plus, they look nicer.
3. Invest in a good lunch box. No matter how much effort you put on cooking homemade meals for your kid, it will end up useless if they don’t come up with proper packaging. You really don’t want mushy sandwiches as your lunch, do you? A good lunch box will also last a long time and keep the food inside cold or warm, because in most cases, food is stored in lunch box for several hours.
These following tips from Wikihow.com give me some good considerations in selecting the right lunch box:
- Get a lunch box that is insulated, or one with a freezer pack. Otherwise, water bottle can be frozen to help keep foods in the lunch box cool.
- Consider how many pockets and divisions you want. Do you want to stack things or place them side-by-side? Do you want everything in one compartment or do you want to keep certain things separate? Do you need a separate pocket for a napkin or fork? Do you need features to contain an ice pack or keep a beverage bottle from tipping?
- Choose something sturdy. Plan to use it for at least a full year.
- Try out the handles, straps, and any closures. Make sure they will make a loaded lunchbox easy, comfortable, and secure to carry (won’t pop open or tip over).
- Choose a lunch box that can contain spills. If your soup or drink leaks, or if that nice, squishy fruits gets squished, at least the mess will be contained and not all over the rest of your stuff.
- Choose something washable. For heavy use, this may mean a hard-sided mini cooler, but many soft-sided lunchboxes have plastic or foil liners that can be wiped down and even removed for cleaning.
- Choose something with style. For kids, choose something fun. A favorite cartoon character might be worth the extra expense if it helps convince your younger one that what’s inside is fun. For older kids, it’s probably best to let them choose the style, so long as it fits everything it needs to. But don’t forget, kids’ lunch box should be easy to be opened by themselves. Believe me, I’ve dealt with series of cute lunch boxes that are so difficult to be handled by 3-year-old kid, and they all turned out useless.
Well, with several considerations described above, you may think that finding the perfect lunch box is far away from an easy job. Thank God I’m done with all the “researches” 😀 May I introduce you to my favourite lunch box: Lunch Box Set from Lock & Lock! This lunch box set contains:
- 1 insulated bag. The inside of the bag is made of aluminum foil, which helps preserving the food inside cold or warm. It also comes with a perfect-size handle to help carrying the bag conveniently to the school;
- 360 ml round container that has outlet of water vapor so that you can open it easily. Just lift up lightly and the water vapor will go out;
- 220 ml divided dish container that has division inside it so you can put different meals side-by-side; and
- 220 ml dish container.
The containers are airtight and have double locking system to keep the food fresh for long hours. They’re also leak-proof, highly durable, and easy to clean. And one more feature that will make you please, this lunch box material is safe for changes in temperature -20 °C to 100°C for use in microwave, freezer and dishwasher! Plus, the material is also BPA free. So, no more worries, Mum!
The size of this lunch box is so ideal for my son’s portion. His school time ends before lunchtime. So everyday, I just have to prepare some snacks to be eaten during his break time at 10 a.m. I usually use only the 220 ml dish container for mini sandwiches, or mini pies, and the 220 ml divided dish container for 2 different sliced fruits, or 2 different kinds of small biscuits. Because I don’t use the 360 ml round container, I have extra space inside the bag to put his water bottle.
If I have to carry his lunch on the move (yes, even he can eat table foods by his age now, I try my best that he eats my own homemade foods everyday), I usually use the 360 ml round container for storing steamed rice, the 220 ml dish container for soup, and the 220 ml divided dish container for other side meals or sliced fruits.
Healthy lunches and snacks are important for active kids. It is important to help them concentrate and learn at school. You know you could make your kids enjoy their healthy meals by creating the lunch box heaven…. We can do it! 🙂